Wednesday, August 9, 2000

Cool cultural crux

Posted By on Wed, Aug 9, 2000 at 12:00 AM

In metro Detroit's urban art scene, what does it mean to be cool? Dating back to the 50s when Detroit poets like Ron Allen were working sessions at local cafes, cool meant confidence. Today, musicians, poets and fine artists in the metro sprawl are busy networking, brainstorming and socializing - mostly enjoying the renaissance of an energized cultural scene. And so where do they all go to celebrate? Whether 'they' be masses of art enthusiasts coming to check out an evening exhibit opening, or a quiet twosome settling in for an afternoon of conversation; 'they' seem to go to Cass Café. And well they should. Located in the Cass Corridor, where a veritable hub of underground joints like Gold Dollar and Twingo's found home, Cass Café's atmosphere is a harmonious blend of casual and up-scale, comfortable and elegant, relaxed and social.

Crowds float in and out of the café. Because of the reasonably-priced lunching, it is one of the local restaurants to attract students on lunch break from Wayne State University and Center for Creative Studies. The menu offers a wide variety of appetizers, snacks, soups, salads and sandwiches. Count up four alternatives to a burger -- turkey, tuna, lentil walnut or Garden - so vegetarians need not worry. Other notable sandwiches are the catfish sub special, artichoke melt or blackened chicken breast. The food selection is not the only proof of variety. The full bar serves a dozen different wines and 23 beers -- including a few microbrews from Motor City Brewing Company.

So it's no wonder Cass attracts good people. The lofty open space on two floors can accommodate an intimate-sized group or quite a larger-sized audience in the event of a performance. Either way, in this minimalist art deco environment, friends gather to enjoy a pleasant 'non-vibe' - one that is earmarking Detroit as a vibrant city and a great place to live.


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